Simplicity

Some of the things I have come to grips with within the last couple of months have pushed me to reevaluate relationships and perspectives.

Here are some of my realizations.

Being a people pleaser will do more harm than good.

With enough determination and time management, things will always get done. There is no need to stress over it.

School is important, but people are more important. Investing in relationships is a great priority.

Before acting on something or doing something for someone, ask yourself if you have intentions of expecting something in return. If you do, reevaluate.

Waking up early is almost always the more beneficial option.

Taking time for your well being and emotional health is okay. If they love you, they will understand.

Doubt kills confidence and hinders dreams. Embrace the talents you have, and live boldly.

Detaching yourself from your phone can put a lot of peace in your life. The text, email, notification, or snap chat can wait.

The ability to see the best in people, and finding grace for oneself and others, brings more joy than most other things.

Take the unplanned adventure. Take an unexpected opportunity. Get out of your comfort zone.

Dreaming big and dreaming often is a great source of creativity.

Loving people, past all the misunderstandings and disappointments is always worth it. Always.

Most of these, if not all, have been stated before, and I have no doubt that if you are reading this, this isn’t the first time you have heard the previously statements…but reading it, hearing it…they are different then living it. So…here is another opportunity for all of us, to embrace what makes us happy, to choose to dream, love, and live fully by what we want out of life and what makes us happy, despite other people’s thoughts or ideas. Do you, think you, dream your dreams, live your life.

Blessings,

Nikole

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To the Dreamers,

Keep dreaming.

Keep dreaming about the places you want to go, the hobbies you want to take up, the people you want to meet, the goals you want to accomplish. Keep going. Not only for yourself, but for others. Inspire future dreamers.

This world is hard. So many factors get in the way of our ideas, thoughts, and desires. Stay onto them.

Live for beauty. Seek it.

Go after your dreams and dream big.

Explore.

Travel.

Read.

Write.

Create.

Love.

Let your mind go, and daydream.

Think simplistically. Think with complexity.

Do not let your heart be hardened, your dreams to subside. May they change, but never cease.

Because trust me, when you stop dreaming, hearts harden and life satisfaction diminishes.

Keep living, and feel alive while doing it.

Blessings.

 

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Growing Pains

Pain.

It is such a negative word, right?

Wrong.

The times we fall, realize we lost our way or lost ourselves, or made a bad choice. Whether we feel like we get punched in the gut by an act of betrayal or disloyalty. Whether we are overcome by extreme sadness and mourning for lost loved ones.

Pain, tears, sadness, and an overwhelming sense of loss of control…is not negative.

Because when you fall, and pick yourself back up.

When you lose your way, and then put yourself on the right path again.

When you make a bad choice, and then own that responsibility of that choice.

When you are betrayed, and learn and forgive.

When you mourn and remember a dear person in your life, and still find joy some time after…

There is strength,

discovery of self-identity,

lessons learned,

and so much personal growth through pain.

 

A dear friend of mine and I were having dinner. She was going through a rough time with a series of events that would knock anyone down for the count…and I looked at her and said, “I am excited for you.”

Why?

Because the time she was about to go through to heal, to overcome, and to learn was EXCITING. Obviously at the time and in the moment, her thoughts weren’t of excitement, but there is opportunity for thankfulness and growth through painful experiences.

So if you are going through a hard time, or when you do (because it happens to all of us), remember who you want to be regardless of other people’s influences, and choose that, ALWAYS. If you can’t think of anything positive, think about a perspective that takes you beyond the moment, and to the time where you can look back and realize how such a crappy time could have transformed and prepared you for what you are doing and who you are.

Blessings.

 

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We Are All Story-Tellers

I love to talk. What can I say? I love to express my emotions, ideas, and thoughts through words…admittedly, sometimes without thinking beforehand.
What I love more is to listen.
I love to listen to stories…
Stories of joy
Stories of heartache
Stories full of fun and adventure
Stories of redemption
of struggles
childhood memories
dreams
rejection
love
family
friendship

I love to see people’s face light up as they enter into their own world…we are all story tellers, and we all have a story to tell.

I have my own. Which is why I write. It is why I journal. It is why I blog. It is why I paint. draw. dance.

My story is my life.
It shapes the way I live.
Your story does the same.

I have found that getting to know ourselves is scary. We are with ourselves all the time. We wake up in our minds and tuck ourselves to sleep in our thoughts. So the story that goes along with who we are can sometimes be suppressed.

I want you to know, that there is someone out there that cherishes all the adventure, redemption, rejection, dreams, heartache, and joy that goes along with where you have been and how you have gotten to the place you are at in this moment.

Along with finding out that it is hard to let ourselves deeply know who we are, it is also hard sometimes to acknowledge the caring people out there, who have a heart to listen to the story each of us have. Each of us has a story that holds joy, happiness, and good memories, but we also have stories that are full of sadness, pain, and rejection.

I am sitting here in my house I have grown up in, thinking of the memories I have made in this city…of the memories I have made in my college town…and even the memories I have made within the past week…and though it is full of laughter, friendship, and love…it also holds failure, pain, and tears.

I do not think of those parts of my life as a road block, but through those parts I have grown the most and have shaped my character tremendously more than any other time…and I am thinking about these times and feeling thankful I have people in my life who cherish these times, just as much as they share the parts of my story where it was all joy and happiness. I have people who have loved me hard, and have cherished my stories whether it be for better or worse, simply because they have made me who I am today.

You have someone in your life who does the same.

I want to encourage you to open up to the fact that YOU are a story teller, who has a story, and has someone who not only wants to hear about the good old childhood memories, but cherishes the deepest parts that you have a hard time admitting to yourself.

I challenge you to acknowledge where you have been, but remembering to think how far you have come…and to acknowledge that there is someone out there who honors you for that journey.

I have no idea where all of this is coming from…only that this past week I have been on spring break. After a last minute trip to a small beach town in Florida, with a side adventure to Disney World and Charleston, SC… I have found that stories can build out of nowhere, and life always likes to throw us an unexpected curve or detour…but no matter if that detour or sudden curve brings us heartache or joy…it is beautiful simply because it contributes to who we are, each of us beautiful and individually cherished for who we are, where we are at, no matter where we have come by at least one person in our lives.

I suggest we cherish those people…they are few and in-between.

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The Struggle of Time

Time.

When I think of time, I think of constraints.

I think of due dates and lists of to-dos.

I think of planning and scrambling to get things done.

There never seems to be enough of it…time, that is.

The limits of time seem to cause me stress.

Yet, time is beautiful. It is a treasure.

Time is quality.

Time is a blessing.

The time we have today is the moment  in which we are present…
in which our past meets our future.

This moment in time is where we have the opportunity to be stewards of our past failings while improving our future.

This moment in time is where we have a choice to make life count.

It isn’t about the amount of time that makes moments and memories so memorable…
it is what we do with the time we have, and how we embrace this exact moment that makes life memorable..

 

So in this moment, where are your thoughts?
How beneficial are those thoughts?

I find myself thinking more about how I am going to get tasks completed in the time that I have than focusing on the task itself.
I find myself thinking about how much longer I have until I am free of the burden these tasks…Yet, I can be free in this exact moment.

The quality of time surpasses the amount of it, and the quality of this time and this moment is chosen by us through our thoughts and through our actions.

I am attempting to transform my perspective of time to no longer seeing it as a constraint, but as a beautiful treasure not only for completing tasks, but to share to others.

Time is not only a stress causer, but our hoarding of our time can be selfish.

Remember, time is beautiful, a treasure…so share it with someone else.

I know for me, I get so caught up in the stress of tasks, I use all the time I am given to myself in attempts to completing those tasks…yet  I forget that the highest quality of time is when it is shared and cherished by people.I know for me, the time I am given by other’s speaks more about how important I am to them than anything else ever could.

Make the time you have right now a moment of embracing the connection of what was the past to what is now the future. Within the moments you have, create time of good quality by choosing beneficial thoughts, unraveled of stress…and ultimately, share it with others.

This is your time, choose to make it worthwhile.

 

 

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Me, Myself, And I?

Someone told me awhile ago that this is the time in my life where it is okay to think about myself, and do what I want, and not make huge sacrifices for others.

I disagree.

We live in a society that tells us it is all about us. We have a ‘me’ orientation where we think everything revolves around ourselves, and our priorities should be first.

I disagree.

Someone says, “This is the time you live it up, do what you want, and what makes you happy!

Serving others… Prioritizing my time for others is what makes me happy. This is what fills my heart with joy.

I only find fulfillment in my life by making a difference in the lives of others.

This year I have really struggled with finding happiness within school…I started thinking about what is so different about this year than last year…

Granted, while being a freshman, everything is new and exciting, and then after that, the routine and monotony can easily set in…but I felt like this feeling of unhappiness…this fulfillment was coming from somewhere else…

The root of it all was that I was making things too much about me, and less about the community I have such a heart for…

Going through school to fulfill my dreams isn’t cutting it for me. I have been focused on my dreams of someday eventually making a difference, built the time to make a difference is NOW.

So turning it back around, I no longer will listen to those who depict this time of my life (my college years) as,

“Be young
you do you,
this time is all about you.”

This is fundamentally why…

This is the first time many people are away from their families, we are able to make judgments on our own without the complete influence of our family… this is the time we form habits of our own which will carry us as a foundation through the rest of our lives…where we form our own thoughts, ideals, and values without the influence of parents, family friends, etc (granted, we are never without influence, but we now have more power to determine where those influences come from)…and honestly, I think these kinds of thoughts about the lifestyle we choose throughout college and it’s continuous overflow into the time after college goes under the radar.

Why begin a habit where everything we do is for our own personal gain? Where is the improvement in the community? Where is the example to do good for our neighbor, even if there needs to be a sacrifice on our end?

I choose to disagree that this time is all about me, myself, and I.
I choose to go against this ‘me’ orientation society has told me is acceptable,
and live on my own terms…

Where I hope to make a difference along the way, wherever this life is leading me…Starting NOW…may this life be in a direction of influence, inspiration, and change that we all need.

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The Back Roads to Freedom

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Lately I have found my mind wondering back to the times I spent down the back country roads near my house. These roads gave me freedom to sing at the top of my lungs…and at other times these roads gave me a place to process thoughts that brought a steady flow of tears down my cheeks.

It has been a long time since I have taken one of these drives. Just my car, me, and the open road where it seems like there is endless possibilities, a thousand dreams to be pursued, and a million nostalgic memories to think about.

I am sitting here on my dorm bed in the mountains on a cold winter night, frustrated. I am in school, an amazing opportunity for my future…in which I have no idea what that looks like. I have amazing and influential professors, I am immersed in the knowledge at my fingertips, and the amazing and inspiring people who have come into my life here…but my heart is yearning for this open road…where my mind wanders freely without a worry or care of where I might be going or how long it will take me to get there.

I am starting to change back into the person who considers teaching English in another country, and thinks about taking long extended trips on little to nothing. I think about what it would look like to give up this structure, of school and assignments, and immerse myself into the adventure. right now. On Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 11:00 pm.

But then I think, even though I am not physically on the back roads at home…I once again feel my mind wander to the possibilities and adventures this life can hold. There is this resurrected feeling of a free spirit within me that exudes excitement over the things that lay ahead. I feel inspiration. I feel light. I feel joyful, and even giddy.

Outside what seems sometimes to be monotonous schooling where I don’t know what I want to do, therefore I have a hard time finding purpose in exactly what I am studying…I feel peace and joy and expectant for a life of adventure, within or without the U.S. With amazing people and amazing conversations that in me a passion I felt I have somewhat lost.

I feel the carefree feeling of the wind and warmth and sunshine like I used to feel on those summer afternoons driving into North Carolina…I feel it through the acknowledgement that even though sometimes my studies might seem monotonous, and hard to find purpose, this opportunity right now, right here in the mountains is just as an adventurous opportunity as any…because even though I might not be immersing myself into a completely different culture outside the U.S, or teaching English in another country, or living a life of travel on little to nothing…there is still the adventure of the unknown. 

I do not know who I will meet tomorrow. Or what I will do or encounter within the week. Anything can happen. And who knows, the people I meet and the events that might occur tomorrow could possibly shift my life into something I never thought possible.

This unknown, used to cause so much fear in me. It bound me in decisions and created anxiety, but now…Now it is causing a perspective of adventure in what used to seem like an exhausting life choice.

Who knows where I will be in a couple years from now. Here. There. Anywhere. With whom. For how long. What I will experience. Or what I will have learned. It all starts here. Today, in the unknown of tomorrow. And that is my adventure.

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